Best prepaid pre-pay SIM card for Canada?

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by Tivoboy, May 3, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Tivoboy
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    Anyone know what a "best" option might be for a prepaid SIM in canada for short term light usage?
    I've got a couple unlocked iphones 2G, 3Gs which I can use.

    i've done research over at prepaidgsm.net but their cards database is pretty out of date and there haven't been any real post/forum updates in a while.

    One ISSUE seems to be that some carriers don't have SIM's to give out, only with either a phone purchase OR you have to have a SIM mailed to you. that won't work.

    Other carriers seems to have issue with non-canadian Credit Cards, in that they wont' allow one to purchase or recharge, so THAT won't work.

    Some carriers while having data don't support the data frequency on the iphone 1(2G) but MIGHT support the 3Gs, but there isn't a list anywhere that confirms this.

    So, I'm looking for a fellow traveler who has some recent direct experience with purchasing and using a canadian sim for something simlar.

    Thanks
     
  2. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    What area of Canada?

    You do realize that in Canada, Telus, Bell are CDMA while Rogers is GSM. What kind of phone are you bringing? I assume an jailbroken GSM phone.

    I am from Vancouver. I use a prepaid SIM chip from Rogers only because it is the most convienent but it is not the best. The number expires after 3 months and if you go back within 6 months you can reactive the number, after that period the number may or not be available anymore.

    Speakout is the best SIM card but to get it is a pain. Speakout expires after 1 year of non use. In order to get a speakout sim card you need to buy from craiglist or another individual. The actual SIM card is sold with a Petro Canada Speakout phone, you cannot buy an SIM card new by itself.

    Chatr, Fido are all Roger's phones with different advertising and target audience.
     
  3. Tivoboy
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    Yeah, realized that those providors were CDMA, didn't know that they used SIM's to manage phones/access/authentication though.

    As for the GSM providers, Bell mobility, Telus, Fido, Rogers all have similar plans, but the providers like 7-eleven and the Petro Canada company MVNO don't seem to offer CARDS directly, it is a buy money, mail in, get card in mail service. In the end, I picked up a Rogers card (which is essentially the same pricing and plans as the FIDO service which Rogers owns), which probably worked fine but my iphone 2g started to fail and I had somewhat spotty service. Granted, it was trying to connect on EGDE/GPRS and now the 3g rogers network, but at least had a local phone. Their pricing is fine 10$ for a card, add 10-20$ stored value. Plans CAN be changed, but the problem is one cannot really CHANGE A plan without ADDING more value. It is sort of a racket. I put 20$ on, paid 7$ for 125MB of data which I hardly used. Got myself on the 1$ a day plan, but after three days figured I'd get OFF that plan and be on the pay per call plan. BUT, to get to a pay per call plan, even with 10$ still on the card one has to ADD 20$ to make a plan change. Stupid. Good revenue model, but just stupid
     
  4. DHahn
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    DHahn Silver Member

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    This seems to be old thread but I have been looking into getting prepaid SIM card for Canada for upcoming summer vacation. If you just need voice, AT&T prepaid option could be an option as its Canada roaming rate is 39¢/min.

    I'm looking for prepaid voice & data plan as I'll be relying on iPhone for the trip. From the page page, you can pick up 7-11 SIM card at its stores for $10 CDN. Additionally 7-11's Speak Out plan has $10/mon unlimited browsing which could be tweaked but...
    Any prepaid SIM voice & data plan suggestion is welcomed.

    Thanks,
     
  5. joelfreak
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    joelfreak Silver Member

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    Keep in mind that your phone may not use the right frequencies for Canada. I have a TMobile unlocked G2, and although I receive 3G in EVERY country I have visited (more than 25!), in Canada the ONLY company I can get 3G from is Wind. I ended up settling for a Rogers SIM and 2G for my recent YUL trip, since Wind doesn't operate there.
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Silver Member

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    Surprisingly, both T-Mobile and AT&T have reasonable roaming rates in Canada. They're reasonable enough that it might make more sense to use their prepaid products than to buy Canadian service.

    The last I checked, 7-Eleven's Speak Out Wireless was the best Canadian prepaid plan because you could keep it alive for a year with a $50 or $100 top-up (I forget which). There is some discussion about this option at howardforums.
     
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  7. ronens

    ronens New Member

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    I'm looking for a short term ( two weeks) sim card to be used in BC and Alberta for local calls and data. I would like also to use my phone (Iphone 4s) as a hotspot (for my laptop and Ipad). any ideas what would be the best option?

    Thanks
     
  8. DHahn
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    DHahn Silver Member

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    I got a Fido SIM card from Canadian Ebay dealers ~$11 with $10 airtime and got it activated before the trip. Once at Vancouver, I added $20 and selected $25/month for 500MB plan online. When you try to browse with iPhone first time, it will give you either a day or a week option. $25 for 500MB option shows up when you set up online account access. Since I was more into data than voice, this worked out fine as ended up using 350MB or so.
    P.S. Only hiccup was APN setting. I had to remove AT&T setting and added Fido from unlockit.co.nz.
     
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  9. Taylor R

    Taylor R New Member

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    Similicious is your best bet, and biggest bang for your buck, if you're planning a short stay in Canada. The sim card is FREE, you only pay for the data package. They provide an added-service of delivering the sim card to your hotel and activating service.
     
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  10. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    For a short visit this looks like quite an OK deal- have you had experience with the service- does it work well in Ontario and BC?
     
  11. legionnaire

    legionnaire Active Member

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    We'll be traveling from New England into Quebec, Montreal, Toronto and crossing back over near Buffalo in a couple of weeks. We expect to spend about a week (7 days) in Canada itself. I am looking for at least two pre-paid sim cards that I can buy for use among the four of us. All four phones are unlocked and penta-band (Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia N97, Nokia 808). For each SIM card for this 7 day period, I am looking for
    1. about 200 minutes of talk time
    2. 100mb of data
    3. 50 texts
    I've read some of the threads here and elsewhere. The recommendations seem to boil down to these:
    • A Rogers pre-paid SIM. Unclear which plan to choose.
    • A 7-Eleven Speakout SIM. This one seems to offer only talk + text. No data.
    • A Simlicious SIM. This seems to offer only data.
    Any thoughts or recommendations given my needs?
     
  12. debbymir

    debbymir New Member

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    Hi,
    I'm looking for a sim to use for 2 weeks in montreal and for 1 week in Newfoundland all during August.
    I have different phones I can use including sony ericsson, samsung, and nokio.
    What would you recommend?
    Thanks
    Debby
     
  13. NW66

    NW66 New Member

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    a dual sim phone like the Dphone T8000
     
  14. TRAVELSIG
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    Just to update on this old thread. Since posting I have used similicious twice and with good results. Both times they sent me a SIM to my hotel in Toronto and Vancouver and it was waiting at the front desk at checkin. The number was a 416 area code and the network provider was BELL. I was able to get good 3G data speeds and in addition coverage also worked in Whistler, Tofino, and some more out of the way places where I thought it wouldn't work but it did.

    Both times I bought the package with 500 MB data and that was enough as long as I made sure my iPhone was not downloading updates/etc which is easy to set.

    I would use them again for simplicity- yes you can go to 7 eleven and get a rechargeable SIM but it seems like a bit of a hassle and also getting good data service and voice service together for short term periods (1 month) it just did not seem like the other operators had good value.
     
  15. ericb

    ericb Silver Member

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    This site is also quite useful to track down SIM cards and data/voice http://prepaidwithdata.wikia.com/wiki/Canada

    It's not always completely up to date, but gives you a good feel for price and convenience tradeoffs, which vary widely from country to country.

    And, of course, always been more than 100% sure your phone is unlocked :)
     
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  16. jaysmith328

    jaysmith328 New Member

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    Hey,

    I would say try G3 Wireless. I don't think they support the original iphone, but they do support the iphone 3G. I've been with them for some time now and i think their service is great. G3wireless.com
     
  17. Tivoboy
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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that the most recent post #17 is Spam. Can't imagine after all the detail above that anyone would reply to a 3+ year old post. For note, Rogers continues to be my go to short term pre-paid card whenever we are in Canada. And, actually the original card I got 3+ years ago continues to be re-loadable. It's crazy.
     
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  18. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Just a further note about the Speakout711 SIM for Canada. I've got one in my older GSM quadband, and although it's not the best talk rates at 25 cents per minute, it's never dropped a call for me and works well in our travels around Ontario. They recently announced a Data Package add-on, so that's now available too if needed. If you're driving across the border from Buffalo or Niagara Falls, N.Y, there are three 711 stores in the Niagara Falls, Ontario area to buy a SIM and topup voucher, and several near the route into Toronto. Problem is though, if you want to buy a voucher from a store in the greater Toronto area, they're few and far between, but topups are also available online with a CC, although I don't know if a U.S. CC will work online on their website.

    Note that any voice topup is good for a year, as long as there's a dollar value left on it, and not an add-on, but they charge $1.25 a month as a 911 emergency fee whether or not you use the SIM once activated, so that reduces the time available. Careful too that any "add-on", such as for data, is only for 30 days, so read all the notes and terms if you're using them.

    I only use Speakout711 for voice calls, so the data or other addons aren't needed, but I've used them for several years, along with my Telus CDMA phone, and both have good results so far.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
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  19. TJRadcliffe

    TJRadcliffe New Member

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    I signed up here just to report a very bad experience with SpeakOut. I purchased a SpeakOut SIM card from 7/11 (in Vancouver) in 2012 and used it for over a year. I used a different (work) phone for most of 2014 but recently fired up the old phone. It recognized the network but wouldn't connect. I recalled something about minutes expiring and went the web site, signed in to my account, and topped up the card. Still no connection... read the FAQ and realized the number had been inactive for more than 45 days, so it had been recycled.

    I called the support line and they were immediately aware the number no longer was active when I gave it to them (so the database was up to date) and they then flatly refused to refund my order. It was "impossible", apparently, and I could speak to my credit card company about it. The only thing they could suggest was that I buy a new SIM card and they might be able to transfer the balance over.

    The important thing here is they knew the number was inactive, but took my money (the minimum top-up, thankfully) anyway, and then refused to reimburse me when it became clear what had happened.

    As such, I strongly recommend staying as far away from these guys as possible. Yes, I made a mistake, but it was one that could have been trivially prevented by a properly written web interface (one that checked the server to see if a number was still active before allowing it to be topped up). Furthermore, to flatly refuse a refund when the mistake was absolutely clear is completely unacceptable. This is borderline criminal behaviour, and if you deal with them do so at your own risk.

    I appreciate the suggestions here on alternatives to SpeakOut, who should be avoided at all costs.
     
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  20. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    Bump

    Does anyone have recent recommendations on this topic? I've got a week trip scheduled to Halifax in June, and due to cost cutting at the office, I'm losing my company-paid mobile phone. Thus, I'm going to be coming out of pocket for my voice & data during the trip. I'm good about hooking up to hotel, etc., WiFi, but I imagine that if I stray from the Westin property I'm going to be in for a treat as far as roaming charges. I've got an unlocked iPhone 4S that I saved for this very purpose.

    Does anyone have experience with the Halifax airport, as far as a SIM vending machine or kiosk is concerned? Or is my best bet going to be in town after I transit to the hotel?

    Thanks!

    theBOAT
     
  21. ericb

    ericb Silver Member

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    I've had success with FiDo but here's the current lineup - likely to have stores in downtown Halifax - http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Canada
     
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  22. KateBennet

    KateBennet Member

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    thank you very much :D
     
  23. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Just as a datapoint, the new T-Mobile "free unlimited international data / text" business works really, really well.

    I recently switched to them -- after 4 outrageous experiences in different countries with Verizon -- and I couldn't be happier. You simple enable data while roaming and it connects to whatever available 3G network is around. You can get LTE speeds for a price, but for the occasional browsing and emailing 3G works as fine as it always did.
     

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